For those of us that fall into what's called the 'Baby Boomer' generation, there were four catalogs that we looked forward to growing up.

OK, maybe first I should explain to the younger set just what kind of catalog I'm talking about. These were treasure chest's really, thick catalogs that were filled with dreams and imagination for young minds and hearts (not to mention clothes, appliances and garden tools for the old fogies). Every toy, game, puzzle, bike and gadget a kid could want would dance of the pages of the catalogs that came from the 'Big Four'.

The 'Big Four'?

Well, you had the ever popular Sears Catalog, the ginormous J.C. Penny Catalog, the filled-to-the-brim Montgomery Ward Catalog, and coming in fourth but still a must-have, the fantastic Spiegel Catalog.

While Sears, Penny's and Monkey Ward are still relatively fresh in the Baby Boomer brain, my goodness...whatever happened to Spiegel?

It was ol' Joseph Spiegel that started the company back in 1865 (yes, 1865. I guess with the Civil War just ending Joe thought the splintered nation could use a good catalog). And a hundred or so years later all us kids (and moms and dads) looked forward to turning page after page of the Spiegel Catalog.

I mean, these catalogs were so darn great, they'd never go away!

Except, of course, they did...at least in the form that still dances in the memory of a kid who grew up in those Baby Boomer years.

And Spiegel? Well, in the 150+ years since Joseph Spiegel published his first catalog the company has gone through changes and changes and more changes, including bankruptcy and several different owners. Today, there's still Spiegel out there mostly in a direct-marketing digital form.

But as far as a little farm kid laying on a linoleum living room floor in a ramshackle farmhouse just outside Leota, Minnesota, paging through the Sears, Penny's, Monkey Ward and Spiegel Catalogs while listening to the Minnesota Twins on a six-transistor radio?

Those days only live, like the pages of toys in those catalogs, in the warm rainbows of memory.

Wikipedia Contributed To This Article

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